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Catullus abuses and threatens Egnatius and his companions, who aspire to be lovers of his puella. The expression concerning the puella in v. 11, and the repetition of v. 12 almost verbatim from Catul. 8.5, make it fairly certain that Lesbia is meant, and that these verses were therefore written in the period of temporary estrangement (cf. Catul. 8.1ff., 107.1ff., 36.1ff., and Intr. 18f.). It will be noted that, as in Catul. 8.1ff., there is no distinct censure of Lesbia on the ground of unfaithfulness with others.—Date, about 59 B.C.—Meter, choliambic.

taberna: here probably a cook-shop with a bad reputation.

[2] pilleatis fratribus: i.e. Castor and Pollux, who are often represented in ancient art wearing the pilleus. Their temple, usually called that of Castor alone (Suet. Iul. 10), stood on the southern side of the Forum, near its eastern end. From its restoration in 6 A.D., three Corinthian columns still stand with the ancient podium.

[2] pila: the pillar at the door of each taberna, or shop, that served as a sign-post for advertisement of the goods within; cf. Hor. S. 1.4.71nulla taberna meos habeat neque pila libellos” ; Mart. 1.117.10contra Caesaris est forum taberna scriptis postibus hinc et inde totis.” Rows of tabernae stood even in the Forum from early times, while the streets of the vicinity abounded with them.

[4] , quidquid est puellarum: cf. Catul. 1.8n. quidquid hoc libelli.

[5] The first foot of the verse is probably a dactyl; but cf. Intr. 79.

[5] hircos: i.e. creatures detestable to all women; cf. Catul. 69.1ff. and Catul. 71.1ff.

[7] an: with ellipsis of the verb, the complete idea being nescio centum sitis an ducenti, i.e. ‘a hundred of you, or, for all I care, two hundred’; cf. Cic. Fam. 13.29.4non plus duobus an” [i.e. ‘or possibly it was’] tribus mensibus. But cf. Catul. 29.14ducenties aut trecenties.

[7] ducenti: cf. Catul. 29.14n.

[10] sopionibus scribam: i.e. he will scrawl insulting pictures or inscriptions over the house-front, advertising to passers-by the disorderly character of the house, as some dwellings in Pompeii seem to have been treated. sopio is apparently a colloquial word for penis.

[11] mi: ethical dative.

[11] meo sinu fugit: but cf. Catul. 44.14in tuum sinum fugi.

[12] amata: etc. cf. Catul. 8.5, and introductory note to this poem.

[13] magna bella: probably referring only in general to the great difficulties accompanying a successful liaison with a married woman, and one of Lesbia's social position.

[14] boni beatique: ironical; cf. Catul. 33.1optime” ; Catul. 36.6electissima” . The alliterative coupling is common; cf. Catul. 14.10n.

[15] quod indignum est: with the form of clause cf. Catul. 38.4.

[16] semitarii: cf. Catul. 58.4..

[17] une: with a specializing force; cf. Catul. 10.17unum” .

[17] capillatis: contrary to the old Roman custom, young city fops of the day affected long hair elegantly dressed as well as beards (v. 19); cf. Cic. Catil. 2.10.22pexo capillo nitidos aut imberbis aut bene barbatos.

[18] cuniculosae: as the home of a particular species of rabbit: cf. Catul. 25.1. Perhaps there is an oblique reference to the effeminacy of Egnatius in the choice of the adjective.

[19] Egnati: cf. Catul. 39.1ff., directed against him expressly. Nothing further is known of him.

[19] bonum: pretty; said sneeringly; cf. Cic. l.c.,bene barbatos.

[19] barba: cf. v. 17 n.

[20] dens: collective, as in Catul. 39.20.

[20] Hibera: after the Spanish fashion, with a transfer of epithet to urina from defricatus; cf. Catul. 17.19n.

[20] defricatus: cf. Catul. 39.17ff.

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hide References (17 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (17):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 13.29.4
    • Catullus, Poems, 10
    • Catullus, Poems, 107
    • Catullus, Poems, 25
    • Catullus, Poems, 29
    • Catullus, Poems, 33
    • Catullus, Poems, 36
    • Catullus, Poems, 38
    • Catullus, Poems, 39
    • Catullus, Poems, 44
    • Catullus, Poems, 58
    • Catullus, Poems, 69
    • Catullus, Poems, 71
    • Catullus, Poems, 8
    • Cicero, Against Catiline, 2.10.22
    • Horace, Satires, 1.4.71
    • Suetonius, Divus Julius, 10
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